How companies can adjust to anti-corruption enforcement in Brazil


The fight against corruption that has characterized Brazil over the past few years enters a new phase as the federal government recently submitted to Congress a set of legislative changes which include heavier sanctions, the introduction of plea bargain and protection for whistleblowers. Despite the efforts by the Ministry of Justice, there is currently no indication that the project will be treated as a priority in Congress, as attention is focused on the reform of the pension system. Also, the intensification of anticorruption initiatives meets resistance in Congress and even in the Judiciary, in a legal and political debate where the safeguarding of due process of law is often mistaken for the defense of impunity.

Whatever the fate of the proposed innovations, anti-corruption enforcement will continue to have a significant impact on the legal, political and business arenas in Brazil. This issue of LS Brazil Outlook draws on the experience of the initial years of enforcement of the Clean Company Act and, more generally, of the fight against corruption set in motion by authorities in Brazil, to discuss aspects that companies doing business in the country should consider.

Alexandre Ditzel Faraco explains how the government and Congress could take the opportunity of Justice Minister Sergio Moro’s recent anticrime package to also tackle problems with the enforcement of Brazil’s Clean Company Act, which suffers from the dispersion of power among multiple authorities. A concise yet thorough review of the overlap of laws and multitude of authorities involved in anti-corruption matters is undertaken by Rafael Zabaglia, who then goes on to discuss the hurdles they impose on companies seeking a clean slate in relation to federal procurement and governmental contracts.

Marcos Drummond Malvar discusses the adjustments multinational companies need to make to their compliance programs in order to be eligible for compliance credits in the framework of antitrust and anti-corruption investigations - in view of requirements and guidelines recently adopted by Brazilian authorities.

For a number of years Brazil has been contemplating draft legislation governing lobbying, but to date this activity remains the province of codes of conduct which are general in nature. Felipe de Paula discusses recent trends, risks, and precautions that companies should adopt in their relationship with the administration.

Finally, Simone Lahorgue Nunes disputes the (frequently voiced) view that the recent Brazilian data protection law, which is yet to take effect and is largely mirrored on the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), will hinder the possibility of private companies performing internal investigations to determine violation of compliance rules.

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